The Jumps season may well have come to an end in the United Kingdom, but the National Hunt season continues across the Irish Sea as the five-day Punchestown Festival kicks off on Tuesday.
The first day holds three Grade 1 contests in the form of the Bective Stud Champion Novice Hurdle, William Hill Champion Chase and Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase while day two features the Punchestown Gold Cup.
The team has taken a look through the first two days, in hope of picking out some value ahead of the five-day festival at Punchestown.
Here are their three best bets for the opening two days of the Punchestown Festival.
INSTIT – Howden Insurance Broker Mares’ Novice Hurdle (7/1 – Various)
While there are some promising sorts in the Listed contest, there could well be some untapped potential in Instit.
The four-year-old filly has recently joined Willie Mullins’ yard following a comfortable maiden success in France and she produced a solid effort on her stable debut, keeping on to finish second at Limerick.
The daughter of Saint Des Saints does get an age allowance in this contest which hold some interest and while she does have to carry a penalty for her win in France, she still carries weight against the entire field.
She could well have more to offer here, with her price of 7/1 looking interesting at this level.
ENVOI ALLEN – William Hill Champion Chase (18/1 – Coral + Ladbrokes)
With the current conditions, it looks incredibly brave to take on Energumene in this contest. However, his odds-on price doesn’t appeal and it may well be worth chasing an outsider to run into the places or even cause an upset.
Hence why Envoi Allen is the selection here. He has shown slight glimpses of his previous form since switching yards and while he has 14lbs in the ratings to find on the market favourite, he could rediscover his previous form here.
While the eight-year-old will need to show several levels of improvement to beat Energumene, the ground is in his favour and he has proven to be unstoppable at times if he’s on song.
His front-running style should benefit him on this track and if he can build enough of a lead early on, he may well hint at some each-way value here.
MINELLA INDO – Punchestown Gold Cup (9/2 – Various)
A fairly consistent chaser from Henry De Bromhead’s yard, Minella Indo could well land success in the Punchestown Gold Cup for his connections.
The nine-year-old’s form has been respectable this term, placing in the Irish Gold Cup in February before finishing second to stablemate A Plus Tard in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month.
The gelding should be up to the task today and does carry some handy form, as he did get the better of Allaho over hurdles at Punchestown back in the Grade 1 three-mile novice hurdle back in 2019.
His best form has come at undulating courses and with Allaho’s record over three miles holding some concern, it could well be worth taking a punt on Minella Indo here.